Some days are easier to be creative than others.
There are days when I’m filled with creative impulse from the moment my eyes open up. Today is not one of those days. Today is one of the days when my creative side is still taking a nap, and the rest of me seems to be running on autopilot.
I got plenty of sleep, but still woke up early enough to pace myself through the morning routine. I’ve got thoughts racing through my mind about heading to my property very soon, possibly by the time you read this. I have a job to finish up, and there is most definitely a little “Oh my gosh, all these projects” thought buzzing in my mind.
What do I do on such days? Take a break? Run and hide? No. These days are the best time to catch up on editing work.
I’m not a proponent of the whole “left brain, right brain” thing, for reasons far beyond the scope of this post, but things that we focus on from one day to the next tend to change gears. Depending on what’s happening in life, your impulses will be different.
I can, of course, force inspiration if needed. But after you get through that first novel, you will probably find an array of projects at various stages of completion, loafing around on your computer or in your notebooks. Struggling to write a first draft of a first novel is one thing, but balancing 3 or 4 novels and various short stories is quite another.
If you are in the first category, I recommend sitting at your keyboard and writing anyway, until the words start to flow. Kind of like I’m doing with this post (you wouldn’t believe how many short snippets I went through before coming up with this week’s blog post). However, the upside to having a stack of different projects is that if you don’t feel inspired to create new masterpieces, you don’t have to.
That’s why today is an editing day for me. I didn’t realize it at first, but after proofing some final copy for my client, my focus on editing things came to light all on it’s own. Normally I hate line edits. They’re mindless and boring. But when I’m mindless, they are perfect. I can zone out and fall into a repetitive kind of task work. Line edits are the writing equivalent of factory work. They’re more for “paying the bills” than they are for enjoyment. At least for me.
To keep things short and sweet (as this isn’t exactly a very involved topic), I will say that you can keep your writing time productive without energy or creative impulse. The solution is to find another task that needs doing, and work on that for a while. I have books that need full rewrites, stories that need to be finished, submissions that need to be filled out and sent off, block edits, content and structure edits, line edits, etc.
Priority of course goes to projects that are more timely, but even in that batch, there’s plenty to do. That’s why I’m not starting on my next novel yet. I have plenty of other things to wrap up first.
As for ramping up your creativity if you’re in a slump, check out “Finish the Damn Book” and give it a read, or write some short stories to get your mind moving. Sometimes by writing some flash stories. Just wing it, and you might figure out how to get past your hangups, and jump back on legging out that last bit of novel.
Wishing you a productive day.